Chapter 3




Chapter 3


To suffer, to love, to make reparation 

In this fire of love the first mystical phenomena are observed in her: levitation, stronger heat than normal, mystical embraces. 

On these occasions when I made offerings to Our Lord, I felt myself to be ascending, without knowing how (Deolinda told Fr Umberto Pasquale, second director, that she rose from the bed like a feather, and remained suspended). And at the same time I felt a fierce heat that seemed to burn me. (…) I felt myself interiorly constricted, which left me very tired (Fr Pasquale sees in this a beginning of the spiritual marriage). (A, p. 24)   

At this point of the Autobiography Alexandrina summarized, under inspiration, her life’s program: to suffer, to love, to make reparation. 

Whenever she questioned herself on the course her life was taking, she heard those three words.  

In 1933 she had her first meeting with the Jesuit Fr Mariano Pinho who would understand her[1]. But at the beginning she wouldn’t speak to him about these phenomena.  However, as her spirituality developed, she felt the necessity of opening herself to him who would become the true spiritual father, whom Jesus chose for her. Fr Pinho would be associated inextricably with Alexandrina in a single martyrdom of love.   

In September 1934 Alexandrina would come to understand that those three words were not a simple inspiration of her own, but that they came from Jesus, who was inviting her to an immolation, a crucifixion: 

Give Me your hands, I want to nail them to myself; Give me your head, I want to crown it with thorns, as they crowned Me; give Me your heart, I want to pierce it with the spear, as they pierced mine. Consecrate your entire body to me, offer to Me all of yourself, I want to possess you completely and to make you experience what I experienced. C (8-9-34)   

She heard Jesus say this, and He repeated it in three ecstasies: on the 6th, 7th and 8th days of the month. Alexandrina was ready to accept with generosity, but we must understand that she was considering the increase of suffering, not about mystical phenomena!  She was being called to relive the Passion of her Beloved in its totality; this reliving the three fields: physical, moral, spiritual!

One month later she proclaimed her impulse of love by writing a promise to Jesus in her blood: 

As soon as they had left me alone with Jesus, I proved to Him how much I loved Him. I took a pin that held my medals and pierced the flesh above my heart; but as I did not see blood appear, I embedded it still more and I twisted the fibre of flesh until they broke and began to bleed. I took the pen and a holy picture and with my blood I wrote this on it:

“With my blood I swear to love You very much, my Jesus, and may my love be such that I die embracing the cross! I love You and I want to die for You, my beloved Jesus, and thereafter to live in Your tabernacles, oh my Jesus”.  

Balasar, 14/10/1934  

Preparation for the great event   

Over a period of 4 years Jesus prepared her for the mystical phenomenon of reliving His Passion.  In the ecstasies Jesus, as Master, taught her various virtues of the Passion: silence, humility, obedience, abandonment. He encouraged her attention to Him in the tabernacle. 

Meanwhile He intensified His expressions of love, and gave her spiritual consolations. 

Jesus spoke to me by day and by night. I felt great spiritual consolation; my sufferings did not scare me.  

In everything I felt love for my Jesus and I felt that He loved me, therefore I received caresses from Him without number.  I desired to be always alone. Oh, how united I felt with Him in the silence! … 

Jesus often unburdened Himself with me. (A, p. 22)  

He consoled her in her tribulations making her see the great benefit that arose from them. 

— I chose you for myself. Correspond to my love. I want to be your spouse and your beloved and your everything; I also chose you for the happiness of many souls. (…) 

He told me that I am a canal through which will pass graces that I will distribute to souls and through which the souls will go to Him.  

My Jesus told me more: that He makes use of me, so that through me many souls will go to Him and through me many souls will be moved to love Him in the Blessed Eucharist. C (4-10-34) 

— My daughter, Oh my beloved, I am with you. Oh, how I love you!  The chains of love that bind me to you are so strong that I cannot break them. I cannot abandon you. (...)   And He asked me to love Him very much, and said that He not only wanted my love, but that I should make others love Him too. C (1-11-34) 

But this is achieved with the cross, which became heavier. 

Our Lord began to increase his tenderness towards me, and also to increase the weight of my cross. Blessed be He, and blessed His grace that never failed me! (A, p. 31-32)

Along with her spiritual sufferings and embarrassing medical inspections were joined economic difficulties, due to the loss of lands and the mortgage of the little house. This necessitated 6 years of privations until it was resolved in 1941[2].  Let us reflect on how Alexandrina lived during this painful period:

I cried many tears, but I looked always so that they would not see me crying. It was at night that I was consoled by my Jesus and His Holy Mother. These blessed tears bound me more to Jesus and to Mary and confirmed my confidence in Them even more. (A, pp. 31-32)

Everything that was offered me to eat I gave to my sister, because during this time she too was sick. I thought thus: since nothing will cure me, at least the extra rations will help to improve her! (A, pp. 32-33)  

To give an idea of the state of poverty suffered during that period we quote what Alexandrina’s sister, Deolinda, told Fr Pasquale in 1965 (see Anima di vittima e di apostola, p. 29):

How many times during the night, throughout those difficult times, on hearing Alexandrina’s teeth chattering with the cold, I stood up, lit the fire in the fireplace to heat a stone which, wrapped in a cloth, I put under her blankets! 

Let us quote from the Autobiography: 

O Jesus, I do not ask You for honours, fame, nor wealth, but I ask that You leave us our little house, so that my mother and sister have somewhere to live until the end of their lives; so that my sister has somewhere to grow flowers to adorn your altar in the church, on Saturdays. Oh Jesus, all flowers are for You. Jesus, help us, or we perish! (A, pp. 32-33)

An apparent death   

The cross also is composed of spiritual sufferings unknown to medical science. 

The sufferings of the soul cost more than those of the body! C (14-5-36)   

In 1936 Alexandrina was convinced that she would fly to Heaven on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity (having misinterpreted what Jesus said to her on the same feast in 1935). She is happy while she waits. 

As the day of the most Holy Trinity approached (7th June), my joy and contentment increased. I would fly to Heaven on the feast of my dear Loves, as I called Them: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (…) 

I prepared myself for death. (…) I sang with joy (in very low voice):

Happy, oh, happy
If I manage
To die singing
The name of Mary!

Happy is he who, a thousand times
During the long agony,
Repeats with love
The name of Mary.

The affliction increased; at the time set by Our Lord I do not know what I felt, I let myself listen to what was happening around me.  (…) 

I had already I heard my own cries; I began to breathe and, little by little, I was fully conscious. Underneath, however, I was still in same state, I thought: “You are crying so I am dying”. I was visualizing what would happen when I appeared before Our Lord. I was not sorry to be leaving the world and my dear ones.

It had been an “apparent” death, according to experts in the state of the mystical death[3].    

When I saw that I was improving and that the words of Jesus had not been fulfilled (wrongly interpreted by her as a physical death), a sadness and an imponderable weight descended on me. (…) 

I passed the feast of the most Holy Trinity as one who is dead, and inside me all was death. The tears ran down my face, and the doubts were almost insupportable, because I was not only deceived in what had happened that day, that is, the death, but also in everything that Our Lord had said me prior to that. During the two days following, it seemed me that the whole world was dead. There was neither sun, nor moon, nor day for me. My life was almost insupportable.  

Deolinda and Çãozinha, the only people that knew the circumstances, came close to me and said:  

— Won’t you speak to us? Won’t you laugh?  

I answered them:  

— Leave me alone! I am not the same any more! You will never see me laugh again; I don’t want the sun to shine on me! (A, pp. 36-37)   

After this ‘death’ there followed, for more than a year, months of atrocious physical and spiritual sufferings. She still managed to dictate letters to her director. Contact with him was kept by means of occasional visits that he made to comfort her and letters that Deolinda wrote to him. (Vide NoC) 

Furthermore she suffered very much spiritually because her sole comfort had been taken from her: the certainty of saving souls with her martyrdom! In her more acute agonies she would ask for a crucifix to kiss and say: 

O my dear Love, You suffered more than me! (NoC)

At this time, also, she began a period of fast: 

At the end of April 1937, I passed through a great crisis that took me to the doors of death. I began to vomit by day and by night, unable to keep anything in my stomach. (…) The parish priest read the prayers of the dying over me three times.  

She asked to receive the Eucharistic Jesus, but the priest first gave her an unconsecrated host, to see if she would vomit it, which she did straightaway. The priest was about to give up until someone present observed that such a host was not Jesus! 

Then he decided to give me a consecrated Host. I received it and I did not vomit. Never more was I refused the Sacramental Jesus because of this vomiting. (…) I never vomited until at least a half hour had passed. And so Padre Abate was never afraid to give me Holy Communion. (A, p. 38-39)  

For her final thirteen-and-a-half years she fasted totally, surviving only on the Consecrated Host, her true nourishment.


[1] Fr Mariano Pinho, Jesuit, director of several magazines and a good orator, was often sent to various places to preach.

In 1930 Deolinda participated in a retreat for the Daughters of Mary, in Póvoa de Varzim, conducted by Fr Pinho. She was favourably impressed and confessed to him. Fr Pinho, who was often preaching or confessing in neighbouring parishes, advised Deolinda and agreed to become her confessor. She confided her desire to join the religious life; but Fr Pinho, knowing that she had an ill sister at home, saw immediately that her mission was to nurse her sister.

In 1933, Fr Pinho was invited by the parish priest of Balasar to preach during the week of the feast of the Sacred Heart. He got a girl to take him to Alexandrina’s house and during the rest of the week not a day went by that he didn’t visit her.  (Information collected in 1980 by Fr Hector Callovi, vice-postulator of he Cause and contained in an Appendix of Fr Pasquale annexed to the Biography).

From the Autobiography: “On 16th August 1933, his reverence came to our parish to preach a triduum in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and on that occasion I took him as my spiritual director” (A, p. 22)

[2] The mother went guarantor for a debt incurred by her brother. When the time came he was unable to meet the payment. Alexandrina’s mother had to sell the little land they had, and also to mortgage their little house. This difficult situation continued until 1941, when a benefactor, through Fr Pinho, paid the debt.

[3] Later she was to pass through a second mystical death (which started around 1944), more complex, deeper and more lasting, which took place mainly in the spiritual sphere (vide No Cal, Ch 30). This work – which was written simply to make Alexandrina known – did not touch on this phase of the Alexandrina’s spirituality, which belongs on a specifically mystical level.


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